A brief glance at Rosie day’s credits will reveal The Seasoning House nestled comfortably between much TV work. It was a bold move to take the lead role of Angel in such a blisteringly effective movie, especially considering Rosie was a mere 17 at the time of filming. Much like Australia’s Ursula Dabrowsky, director Paul Hyett knows how to put his lead actress through the wringer…and, as the interview reveals, Rosie took on every challenge with determination and professionalism. If she did all this in her late teens, one can only wait with bated breath for her upcoming films.
Crimson Celluloid: What do you recall about the audition process for The Seasoning House?
Rosie Day: I remember opening the script on an email on the train and reading character names such as ‘Angel’ and ‘Goran’ and thinking it was a sort of Wizard, magic film. I then started reading it and realised I was very wrong! The part was an amazing role and I loved the script but I never thought they’d choose someone so young to play the part. But I worked really hard on it and met Paul (who was sat behind a table like a head teacher) and I did my audition and a recall and then got a phone call saying I got the part- I then cried I was so excited.
CC: Were you daunted on your first day of shooting, knowing that you had to pretty much carry the whole film and were in virtually every frame of the film? How did you prepare for it?
RD: I don’t think I was daunted. Filming is my favourite thing to do in the world so I was quite relaxed. I remember turning up and going to get breakfast on the first day and thinking ‘Ok for the next two months this is your life and then you’ll have to go back to school!!’ Paul and I sat down and did a lot of talking about the character so I always knew emotionally where she was in every scene.
CC: You were really put through the emotional grinder on The Seasoning House. Were the emotional scenes more draining and harder than the physical scenes or did they both provide challenges?
RD: I loved the physical scenes, getting to learn how to do all the stunts and fight sequences was so brilliant. I really enjoyed it. I wore my cuts and scars and bruises I got with so much pride, I kept showing everyone! It brings a new dynamic to a scene when it’s very active. The emotional scenes felt very important to get right as you want to do the script justice. I guess both were draining, I’d literally just go home and go straight to bed every evening!
CC: What can you tell us about Paul Hyett’s directing style
RD: I always describe Paul as this artistic genius. He’s a wonderful collaborator. He has all these genius ideas and then he sits back and let’s you play with them. It’s very liberating as an actor to have a director work in that way, he really let’s you bring what you want to bring to the role. We just did our second movie together and it felt like we’d never been away from filming. We hope to work together lots in the future.
CC: One of the name-actors in the film is the always-reliable and interesting Sean Pertwee. What memories do you have of working with him?
RD: He said I was hard as nails! I liked that! He’s such a great, lovely, guy I had a lot of fun working with him. There’s a scene in the pipe at the end which was funny to film as we were wedged in this tiny metal pipe and couldn’t move! My brother is a massive fan of his so it was so nice to get to introduce him to Sean.
CC: What advice and help did Paul Hyett give you in regards to the character and your performance in the film?
RD: The script was so well written by Paul that most of what we needed was written on the page. There’s not much dialogue in the whole movie so the script was very descriptive as a piece. We knew the audience had to get behind Angel for the film to work so it was about the journey she goes on, from this scared little girl, to seeking revenge on the people who have mistreated her. Also he shouted ‘Rosie you can’t hear that, you’re meant to be deaf’ quite a lot!
CC: The climax to the film is extremely violent and gory. Was this an intense experience for you to film?
RD: I was quite preoccupied by eating the blood that was made out of syrup! That’s how they kept me going on the shoot, a whole lot of sugar! But yes, definitely, the film as a whole is very very dark, and I was really young, so there were things that definitely scared me, things that I had never seen or experienced in real life but it really helped with the role as I got to feel the same way Angel does.
CC: What did you learn on the film that you previously didn’t know from your extensive experience on various tv shows?
RD: Going on a journey with a character from start to finish was amazing, I really learnt a lot about story arks and I constantly had to remember where in the journey we were in any given scene. It had to have complete continuity to flow as a piece as you follow angel the entire time, so that was a great thing to learn.
CC: Any funny or memorable events during the production?
RD: There was a lot of fun moments. Paul always found things to make me laugh every day! Getting to fall out of a window on a harness was really cool I felt pretty invincible that day. Also the limitless amount of Ribena and biscuits and chocolate I could eat was brilliant!
CC: What was your reaction to seeing the finished product for the first time and seeing yourself on the big screen?
RD: The first time I saw it was at the premiere at the empire cinema in Leicester square with 1700 people so it was very daunting! It was such an amazing evening I couldn’t even watch the film properly I was too busy looking around watching peoples faces trying to see what they were thinking! But it went down amazingly and I was very relieved! When we took it to Sitges film festival I felt like I finally got to sit down and watch it properly and I was really proud of what we’d done.
CC: Are you a horror movie fan in general? If so, what are some of your favourite films?
RD: I’d never watched a horror film in my life before I did it. But now me and my family watch them all the time. I get scared though and have to check under my bed before I go to sleep. We loved The Conjuring, Sinister, The Shining, we watch all the new ones as they come out!
CC: As a glutton for punishment you’ve worked with Paul Hyett again on his much-anticipated film Howl. What can you tell us about this film?
RD: Haha!! In truth I love working with him so much that I could never resist it! It’s very different to the seasoning house, completely opposite almost. It’s a very slick, modern and commercial horror centred around 8 people who get stuck on a midnight train! It definitely shows a different side to Paul’s many talents! We might have to make a light hearted film soon though!!
CC: You’ve made an auspicious film debut with The Seasoning House and continue to work hard in film and tv…if you had to chart out your career what would be your goals and aspirations?
RD: I’d really like to be like Carey Mulligan or Emma Stone, they both pick really diverse characters to play, and versatility is what I think makes an amazing actor. I just want to hopefully keep making films, telling interesting stories and having a lot of fun doing it! I’d love to work with Joe Wright or David Fincher, there’s a whole list of people I’m dying to work with! But being happy in what you do I think is very important too!
CC: Thanks for all the entertainment you have provided and best of luck in the future. I’m sure you have a great career ahead of you. And I’ll be there to congratulate you, review your films and, ultimately, borrow money from you.
RD: Ah thank you very much! I think I owe my mum a farm, my dad a boat, my grandad a Ferrari and my brother a mansion first but after that I’ll totally help you out!